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I purchased a rebuilt 1912 Steinway B four months ago. It has been tuned three times since I got it. Each time, it seems like after playing 20-30 minutes the intervals start to migrate. Perhaps it is overtones or beats but it’s enough to be distracting to me. Two technicians have said the soundboard and bridges were well done. I think the action has older parts but for the life of me I cannot figure out why this piano doesn’t stay in tune better or have a better tone. Any thoughts?

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  • 2
    Perhaps you could arrange with a technician to tune it, then stay for 30 minutes while you (or the technician) plays.
    – Aaron
    Nov 29, 2021 at 6:50
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    Do you know if the piano has been restrung shortly before? If so the string might need a few tunings to settle.
    – Lazy
    Nov 29, 2021 at 8:18
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    This is one of the times location would be helpful - both of OP and the piano itself: in the sun, by a heater, in an unheated room, etc?
    – Tim
    Nov 29, 2021 at 9:33
  • How long ago was the piano rebuilt?
    – phoog
    Nov 29, 2021 at 13:27
  • Can we get you to auctually ask a question in the title of this question?
    – Neil Meyer
    Dec 8, 2021 at 18:48

2 Answers 2

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Older pianos will eventually develop problems with keeping their tuning, because the holes the tuning pins are in get worn. This needs to be dealt with using thicker tuning pins and/or bushing out the holes.

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  • The piano is recently rebuilt.
    – phoog
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:34
  • @phoog - yes, I got that. That doesn't exclude the possibility that it was rebuilt incompetently. But I agree, new strings stretching out is (hopefully) the more likely cause. Dec 9, 2021 at 8:06
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After only 4 months and 3 tunings, it'd be back to the shop - I guess that's where it came from. Rebuilds should mean good as new (almost). So there ought to be some sort of guarantee for more than 4 months, but be quick!

Lazy's suggestion about new strings could be a good reason.

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  • Good answer, I'll just add that in my experience the tuner puts the piano through its paces at the end of the appointment, just as a matter of course. Also a good tuner will check location and humidity. And when the first tuning failed they should have sent their most experienced person to see what's going on. Dec 1, 2021 at 0:20
  • The strings are not new…..they are from when the piano was restrung after a new board was put in….probably 20+ years ago. The piano is in my apartment in New York City, away from the windows and radiator. In fact, I turned the radiator off.
    – Gordon
    Jan 31, 2022 at 19:47

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